The Collapsing Empire is a sweeping space opera that makes you lose track of time. A book almost impossible to put down. A book full of characters so compelling and addictive that you are going to want to have book two lined up and ready to go.
Synopsis – In the far future, humanity has left Earth to create a glorious empire. Now this interstellar network of worlds faces disaster – but can three individuals save their people?
The empire”s outposts are utterly dependent on each other for resources, a safeguard against war, and a way its rulers can exert control. This relies on extra-dimensional pathways between the stars, connecting worlds. But ‘The Flow’ is changing course, which could plunge every colony into fatal isolation.
A scientist will risk his life to inform the empire’s ruler. A scion of a Merchant House stumbles upon conspirators seeking power. And the new Empress of the Interdependency must battle lies, rebellion and treason. Yet as they work to save a civilization on the brink of collapse, others have very different plans.
The Collapsing Empire is a hell of a ride. From the first sentence Scalzi sets the scene with vivid descriptions, a diverse cast, action, world building and enough political intrigue to keep you completely enthralled.
“The mutineers would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for the collapse of the flow.”
I was constantly wanting to know what would happen. Who are these characters? Are they going to be alright? Scalzi writes characters that you fall in love with. Whether it is the new Empress, who everyone expects to fall in line and start using her uterus. Marce, the scientist who will bring the tragic news to the Empress or Lady Kiva a house representative that refuses to let anything get in her way and is more than happy to use violence, sex or blackmail to get her way.
“So here’s the deal,” Kiva repeated. “You tell us everything we ask you questions about, and you don’t give us any shit about it, and I don’t purge you out of the airlock without that fucking helmet. I’m not going to repeat myself again. You fuck with me and you die. Got it?”
Dear reader, she had already thrown him out the airlock, his eyes had already haemorrhaged, he was not in a good way.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a book with this level of snark and I must say, I loved every word of it. I want to be lady Kiva when I grow up. I also liked that not all of the characters read the same, each had their own way of talking and thinking. I was never unsure of whose POV I was in at any moment.
I would describe the science aspect as accessible. It’s not overwhelming and we don’t get bogged down in the nitty and gritty, yet we are given more than enough to learn about how everything works. The flow, the ships and the different settlements are all set up nicely, leaving plenty of room for Scalzi to dig even deeper in the rest of the series.
It was a very character driven story, but that doesn’t mean it was slow at all. There was plenty of action, hostile situations, political intrigue and it was a fast paced story. It leaves you wanting more.
When you do read this, make sure you read the acknowledgements. They are superb and offer you a great insight into the authors world. My favourite part was the section where he talked about his wife and daughter and compared his love for them to his love for food.
I received this copy from the publisher via Netgalley.